I happened to find myself waiting for the bus on Como last Saturday morning in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, not far from my last entry about Mim’s Cafe, with a little time to kill. I really like this neighborhood, situated in between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses of the U of M, where the borders between the cities seem porous, imperceptible.
As may be inferred from my blog so far, two things I really enjoy are eating and reading, so I will be starting up a new segment on MSP Adventure Time exploring these two oddly similar activities, Reading and Eating, to catalog some of my favorite local food adventures and places to pick up some good books. Still working on that title… oh well!
The Finnish Bistro has been a favorite of mine for a few years now, and it is a particularly delicious choice for breakfast, offering a wide variety of really good pastries in addition the delicious “pulla” french toast, spiced with cardamom. I also recommend the daily quiche selections, which is what I chose on my last visit. to Nordic food is a pretty nice way to get a taste of Twin Cities culture. The breakfasts feel lighter, fresher, not as heavy as the typical American-style breakfast, which can make a refreshing difference. There are quite a few tables for such a small place, but it is pretty popular and so can get a little crowded, so it might be a good idea to arrive early. Well worth a wait, though!
After breakfast, I walked across the Carter Avenue to Micawber’s Books, one of St. Paul’s most venerable independent book dealers. Micawber’s is an intimate, cozy little shop crammed full of books that offer a lot of browsing potential, and if they do not currently have what you are looking for, they are happy to order it. I never go into bookstores looking for specific titles, though, but just see what I find.
Micawber’s usually has a couple of sale tables offering discounts on some interesting, unusual, and cool finds- this time, I happened to pick up a back issue of the great local lit zine, Paper Darts Magazine and a compilation of Gavin Maxwell’s “Scottish otter” stories, Ring of Bright Water, which I had been meaning to read (and neither of which I had been expecting find). Pretty happy with both of them!
After making my purchases (a couple more books for the hoard), I headed out and hopped onto the bus, heading towards downtown Minneapolis and read some of my new purchases. It was a good morning.
Finnish Bistro, 6:30 am to 8:30 pm daily, 2264 Como Ave, St. Paul
Micawber’s Books, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm M-F, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Sat, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm Sun, 2238 Carter Ave, St. Paul